The Friendly City gets some TLC

Story and photos by Holly Marcus, senior contributor

Volunteers from Massanutten Resort gather around First Step, where they helped clean rooms during United Way’s Day of Caring on Wednesday. Forty-seven volunteers from the resort volunteered in the community.
Community volunteer Victor Landis cuts PVC pipe to make a water wall at the Young Children’s Program at JMU, with program director Pat Kennedy lending a hand.

A flurry of activity started early Wednesday morning around Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. You may have spotted the volunteers in their red shirts, spreading new mulch around playgrounds, brightening up school swing sets and basketball goals with fresh paint and tidying up yards and flowerbeds at many non-profits.  

United Way’s Day of Caring volunteers Rachel Spencer (right), a social worker, builds a water wall with JMU employee Krista Withers at the Young Children’s Program.
Peggy and Jim Laver, members of the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Association of Realtors, trim limbs around Keister Elementary School as part of the Day of Caring.

Working at 38 project sites around the city and county, 647 volunteers signed up for the United Way’s annual Day of Caring to make a difference in the community. This year marked the largest turnout since the event started in the mid-90s, with volunteers coming from local businesses, civic groups, universities and more.

Volunteer Lisa Kanney, from Sunnyside Retirement Community’s corporate offices, repaints the steps at the Mercy House on North High Street. Sunnyside employees have been volunteering at the event for many years.
Mercy the cat supervises volunteers from Sunnyside Retirement Community’s corporate offices as they spread mulch at the Mercy House playground.

While many of the volunteer teams have donated their time to the event for years, others participated on Wednesday for the first time. The Harrisonburg-Rockingham United Way created an online signup page where individual volunteers could choose their project for the day. While giving their time, volunteers got the opportunity to learn more about the work that these non-profits do to benefit the community.

Peter Laver (right), with the Peter Laver Group, and Michael Harnish, of Kline May Realty, both members of Harrisonburg-Rockingham Association of Realtors, patch cracks in the blacktop at Keister Elementary School.
Members of Harrisonburg-Rockingham Association of Realtors, put a fresh coat of paint on the blacktop and basketball goals at Keister Elementary School.

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